Tuesday, October 25 2016


Argentine experts help identify martyrs

Update: November, 04/2015 - 09:21
A group of Argentine experts will be in Viet Nam to assist their local counterparts on a number of field exhumations in the central province of Nghe An this week. — Photo tienphong.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — A group of Argentine experts will be in Viet Nam to assist their local counterparts on a number of field exhumations in the central province of Nghe An this week.

The project, supported by the Argentine Fund for South-South Cooperation, forms part of the work carried out by the two countries since 2011 to search and identify human remains from the US War, Argentine Ambassador to Viet Nam Claudio Gutierrez told Viet Nam News.

Three experts from the internationally-renowned Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) will conduct pilot exhumations on 40 graves out of the 6,800 that the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs' Bureau of National Devotees plans to exhume.

"Before we could put this into practice in the field, we needed at least 15 delegation exchanges for training purposes. Vietnamese experts have made several trips to Argentina," said Gutierrez.

"The project will equip Vietnamese experts with the practical skills and knowledge they need to carry the work on by themselves."

The project to identify war martyrs' remains is being conducted under the framework of the Vietnamese Prime Minister's Decision 150, which came into force in 2013.

Decision 150 sets out a number of tasks that involve different Government agencies, including the ministries of public security and defence, and the National Academy of Science and Technology, aimed at identifying the bodies of over half a million soldiers that fell during the war and still remain unidentified.

Over the years, Argentine professionals have trained their Vietnamese counterparts in a number of areas, ranging from locating human remains to collecting and processing blood samples.

"Our forensic experts found that the laboratories in Viet Nam are usually well-equipped and have several enthusiastic forensic experts," said the ambassador.

The main obstacle was the lack of technical knowledge to use the equipment and follow the procedures, and that was where Argentina came into play, because co-operation focused on technical training, he said.

Of the two tasks the co-operation is concentrating on, the Argentine experts recently started the second task of communicating with martyrs' relatives and society.

"Communicating with relatives is a critical aspect of the forensic research because they can supply the information and blood samples the experts can use to conduct their investigation and find the truth," said Gutierrez.

"Viet Nam is building a genetics bank and to make it feasible, it is essential to have strong co-ordination with society, for example, to provide blood samples.

"However, this approach must be dealt with carefully by professionals since it's a sensitive matter, there are emotions involved and it's important not to generate false expectations."

Argentina is currently implementing several co-operation projects in Viet Nam, many of which consist of technical training in science and technology applied to agriculture and farming. The co-operation in forensic anthropology and genetics for the search and identification of unidentified human remains from the war is considered a major highlight in bilateral relation. — VNS

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